Cambridge University Press is the only publisher of Fitzgerald's early GREAT GATSBY draft
The Great Gatsby, known around the globe as one of the greatest American novels since its publication in 1925, started out as a very different book.
Specifically, it started out as Trimalchio, a darker, more violent story that F. Scott Fitzgerald submitted to Scribner a year earlier. The draft eventually became the story of lost love, the American dream, and the roaring 20s that we all know today, but was never published in its original form—until Cambridge University Press released an edition in 2000. Cambridge University Press remains the only publisher of this spectacular first glimpse at the novel that would change 20th century literature.
Fitzgerald’s early imagining of Gatsby and his American tragedy served as a major inspiration for Baz Luhrmann, whose glittering 3D film adaptation of The Great Gatsby starring Leonardo DiCaprio hits American theaters on May 10. Luhrmann told the Wall Street Journal that the Cambridge edition was “a tremendous resource” that helped him develop Gatsby and Daisy’s relationship as well as a darker aspect of Jay Gatsby’s character.
James L.W. West III, the editor of the Cambridge University Press edition of Trimalchio, served as an advisor on the film. He wrote in the Huffington Post that the main character of Trimalchio, Jimmy Gatz, appears as “a more mysterious and dangerous figure than the Jay Gatsby most of us are familiar with from the published novel.” DiCaprio, Luhrmann’s Gatsby, was very influenced by his character’s earlier incarnation, and carried a copy of the book everywhere with him.
F. Scott Fitzgerald and his classic novel have defined American literature. As Baz Luhrmann’s envisioning of The Great Gatsby lights up screens around the world, it will ignite interest in the story—and its sources.
F. Scott Fitzgerald: Trimalchio is available to buy here
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